Thursday, August 31, 2006

A New Season

Mario and I coached foil Monday. It was a small class, but I think it went well. Wednesday, we helped Cam in Sabre. This was a good thing, as class was crowded with new people and we ran out of sabres. I have no ability in this weapon, but fortunately there were some kids I could help with very basic things. Cameron leaves for Italy this week, so Mario; Kathy and I will cover sabre and epee. Foil is out due to Labor Day. Cam, clever girl that she is, left us a lesson plan for sabre.  I will help the new kids to learn to parry with distance. Epee is not a problem, as it is best learned and taught on the strip. ( That is my opinion anyway.) Epee is always a fun and people are eager to get down to it. ( Myself included.)
                                                                                                                                      In reading the boards, it seems we may have a visitor from foil. This should be interesting. At this point in time, I am on this little Southern woman's GOOD side. I intend to keep it that way. MUST attacks to her hand. If you break a nail it is a black card! are SUCH a girl!

It is the start of a new season. Last season was easy, I just wanted to be a better epeeist.
Okay...maybe there was not as much improvement as I had hoped for, but here we go again.

This season will be much more intense. I have almost to many goals. The good thing about that is............. that if for some reason I have to wait to work on one....I can work on another.

I need to improve my physical condition. I have friends to help motivate me there.

I want to learn some armory skills. I know a world class one, so that has a chance of coming in to play.

I want to be a better foil ref. I have no desire to be rated, I hate refing tournaments, but I want the knowledge for club and coaching. I am looking into this.

I want to improve my epee game. I am considering heading down to UNC, if that is okay, once a week. If not for PL, then just to fence some higher caliber fencers. I hope I can work this in.

I really have NO desire to fence foil in a tournament, but I intend to make myself do this a time or two this season.

If I do these things as I plan and look for other learning opportunities it should help me take a step forward in becoming a coach. I do not have the greatest desire to be a coach, but if I am going to help out in the club, I have to improve rapidly and in several different areas.

The positive note here, is that if I pursue all these goals and make progress in all these areas, it should make me a better epeeist....which is all I truly want to be.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

An Epee Day

(Note: This may be an odd sounding entry, as I am not fully caffeinated. It may also be hard to verbalize, but I want to remember aspects of my day.)

Most of the time, epee night is one of my favorite days. Yesterday I made that more true, by taking a half a day off work and THEN going to epee. There is nothing so unusual about that, but it was just such a good afternoon, I want to remember it in my journal.

It started with Mexican for lunch. ( This is good start for most epeeist.) From there, I proceeded to my favorite park, where I spent the entire afternoon. I use to run the trails at this park, but today it was walking...and sitting...and resting. I have rarely been in the woods and had such a relaxing....enchanting...beautiful....moving...experience.

No...Jim had not been into the mushrooms. It was just a magical time.

All to soon, it was time for class. After warm ups and footwork, I had a coaching experience with Jordan. I think it went well. She was more relaxed and had fun fencing. I think she learned a couple of things and has a couple of more to work on. She took the time to thank me after class. It made me feel good that she did that. What more could a brand new coach ask for?

I did well in pools, but I did not fence well. I think my meditative afternoon, had the opposite effect. It was so simulating, that I could not keep from reflecting on it.

As class was winding down, Cam told me she would not worry about the club while she was gone because it would be in good hands. It was such a very sweet thing to say and so very "Cam". ( I know she meant Kathy and Mario as well, but she spoke to me. )

After class Mario and Cam well as, Haley and Lisa headed out to get some Chinese.
( This is an excellent ending for most epeeist.) It was nice, as Cam cannot usually join us.
Haley and her roommate are beautiful young (college age) women. They are made doubly so, by their youth, which seems to radiate from them, giving them a squeaky clean and "shiny" brand new appearance.

The reason I mention these young women is , because as I looked at them, I thought of this beautiful women that I had seen in the Mexican restaurant. ( Dark hair and brown eyes of course.) She might have been twice these girls age, but she was so very attractive that it was  mesmerizing to me.  She seemed to fill the room with a feminine charm. I think of that women and it makes me glad that I am the age that I am. I have no longing to be a kid. ( a Lost Boy...I guess I get to stay one in some respects.)

What a great day!


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Empty Salle Syndrome

I have now been fencing long enough to see a sad change at the club. Kids that really were kids when I came (whether they knew it or not) are now young adults and have headed off to college. Long time members have seen this before, but not me. I guess it takes me aback more so, because my own son (and the youngest) has headed to UNCC as well. In fact, Trevor, a young adult and one of our kids (Sorry Trev...I know you are grown up...well..kinda.) is at UNCC as well. Megan and the twins have gone.  With Trev we lost another great asset , his Mom. ( Kay) Even Sally has gone.

My brother Tommy (freaky age gap..but brother in arms nonetheless) is growing up and as winter peaks may be spending less time with us.

Jordan will start high school or at least a different form of high school. Her new social life may take her away from us at times as well. That is as it should be. There are some things more important than fencing.

I like these young people. I do not see them like my children, I see them (as much as the age gap allows) as my friends. Their leaving and growing up bothers me a little, but as a parent, I also see this as a good thing...or at least a part of the nature of things. I hope that some of them find new and better coaches of fencing. I would love to see them progress to a much higher level...and some of them can.

I look at the new kids now. ( Both the new little kids and the young adult kids. )There are some cute ones...and some with real potential as fencers!) Will one of them become another Trev or Nicole? Will one of them fence as well or better than Tommy? Will I still be able to give them a run for their money if they can?

My relationship with the coaching staff is changing as well. I am not "one of them" as yet...not exactly...but I think it is moving in that direction. Time will tell. They are a good group and my friends as well.

I also have become truly good friends with a lady fencer roughly my age at the club. In truth, I am all but positive she is way younger than me! ( I have to say things like that or she pokes me with her foil.) Her friendship has helped me with some of these transitions. I am grateful to her.

Partings and joining..........changing relationships......changing faces. It is both sad and happy at the same time.

I am pretty sure I prefer the TOTALLY happy! 



Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Bit Sad

There was a thing that struck me as sad at Coaches College. It concerned  expulsions and disarm techniques. They are not taught anymore. They were demonstrated and then we moved on.
In the Foil 1 manual I had to study ( a frickin' HUGE notebook of information ) expulsions are referred to as: " Basically an obsolete action in modern fencing." It did not go into further detail, but I would guess that it is based on the fact that there is greater distance between fencers than in days gone by. Perhaps it belongs in a time when there was more blade work and retreating was looked upon a cowardly and bad form.
I have used expulsions a time or two with success. They do not come into play but once in a a blue moon. Maybe I was just lucky that it worked at all.
Still, with the possible fading of this knowledge I get a glimpse into what classical fencers must have felt. It is sad to see any knowledge on the path to oblivion.
Jerry ( another of the coaches at the OTC ) implied that certain words and fencing "lingo" are going by the wayside as well. The kids today are not interested in learning them. I understand it , yet it still strikes me as sad.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Here is a fine " How do you do."

Last night I went to foil. Guess what I learned?  
 Give up?  
I am not sure I want to be a coach.  
I was given the task of leading a group in footwork.  I sucked...and I hated it. I did poorly.
I was given the task of working with a new little girl, who came on her first night. I did fact I did very well. I know this. I also loved it.
I get no enjoyment from a classroom situation. How can you be good at anything if you cannot find the joy in it.
I am going to have to rethink this whole thing.                                                                                                    

Monday, August 14, 2006

Further Thoughts on Coaches College.

Six months ago, it was a long term goal/dream to go to Coaches College and become certified as a coach. Maybe I would start a little club in High Point NC, where I live. I was seeing this as something six to eight years in the future….theoretically …..When I knew a hell of lot more than I know now Our little club had a need and the time line changed. It was a ready or not sort of thing.


So the question I ask myself is “Am I a coach?”  It is not a question that is easy to answer. I have a piece of paper that says I am certified as one. On the other hand, there are many coaches in our Division that know more than I will ever live long enough to learn.

I have this big feeling of…” I am not worthy.” I know that I could teach a beginner course and do better than most high school gym teachers.  I have to think on my place in the scheme of things.


When I was in martial arts for all those years, my green belt test was less than any other belt than I ever was tested for. I had fought in a tournament the weekend before and done fairly well. Monday, when I went to class, my sifu walked by and tossed me a shiny new green belt. He said, “Jim…You are a green belt……….now…………earn it!” I did earn it and beyond. That is what I need to do with this little piece of paper.


So am I coach. I do not see myselfin that role…..not yet. I am more of an assistant coach or coach’s helper. That kind of title is fine with me, as I am still working on becoming what I see as a fencer. My vision of what a fencer is… always changing. The ability to do fairly well in a tournament…or to at least give as good an account of yourself as your limitations will permit. To know something about being an armourer… be a fairly good ref….and now I have to add coach to the list. It is no wonder that overall, fencers are a strange lot. These are frickin’ hard goals. You have to be a different breed.


Ya know what I really want to do? I really just want to fence some epee. That is so weird, because after last week….I am just fenced OUT!

 Also...I think that Maestro Begunet is one of the coolest people on the planet!


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Coaches College Part One

I have just returned from nine days in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I was at the United States Olympic Training Center. ( I never get tired of saying were I was, because it was such a truly awesome experience.) I attended Coaches College for Foil One. In essence I was certified as a coach in that weapon.
It was my intention to come back and place a single post on the subject. I do not think that is possible to do. There is to much to say. The highs and the lows of it, that ended in such a HIGH. Just being in around and watching the athletes. So many kinds, shapes and sizes. Seven foot girls volleyball players ( 6 feet of legs), tiny gymnast, weight lifters that look likes they could pull a fire hydrant out of the ground and so many other top rated people in so very many sports. It was fascinating. The food; being around great coaches ; being around great fencers; being EMERSED in fencing. Being in a gym every day at 8:00 AM and staying there until 9:00 PM every night.  Did I mention the food? That requires a post of it's own! Sore ankles...being so very tired....being so very sweaty....being brain dead......having so much knowledge shoveled into your tiny brain that you cannot digest anymore. I do not think I will ever be able to explain it to someone that has not been.
As I have just return tonight. In truth, I am just to drained mentally to try to post further about it this evening. I will just say that it was one of the greatest experiences I have had lately. I will continue with this entry when the cob webs have cleared.
PS. Thanks to all that helped and supported me while I was there.  Truly.......Thank you!

Thursday, August 3, 2006

An Unedited Post

It was my intention to have all my post from now until the end of time, edited. Sadly, there is no time to do so prior to my departure.

I am packed. In fact, I am most likely over packed. I simply can't believe that I will be spending the next nine days sleeping and training in the United States Olympic Training Center. I have been apprehensive about this. Fortunately my editor pointed out that what a great experience this will be ( in more words than that) and I am now pretty darn excited about going.

My flight leaves at 7:04 in the morning. I may have a journal entry or two concerning my trip upon my return


Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Ready or Not

Well..In preparation for Coaches College....and following Woody's instructions.....Mario and I gave our first foil lessons to the class last night. It went fairly well. I felt a bit clumsy and unprepared at times.
I doubt that I will ever know enough to see myself as a coach. I might work my way up to a assistant coach or coaches helper...or something...but not a coach.
This is putting the cart before the horse however. First, lets see if I can pass at Coaches College. It has been a couple of decades sense I have had to study. I may have lost those skills.
I have tried to look at the bright side. Even if I fail, I should be a better fencer for the training. If that happens, I can just go around fencing epee, which is what I really like doing anyway. And I should be a better epeeist for the training. So It seems like I can't loose...except face.
Suddenly, it does not sound like this is a no loose situation.  Lost Boys hate to loose face. I never take it well.
Ready or it comes. My plane leaves for Colorado Friday morning.
You know...I just want to go to a little tournament someplace and fence. That is all I really want to do.  Just a little "E" and Under kind of thing. But.........noooooo...I am going to the United States Olympic Training Center for 10 days.
I am often amazed at life's little happenings!